COVID-19

“Is Long Covid Really an Imaginary Disease?”

Grandstand. This question is asked in a study published in the November 8 issue of JAMA Intern Med. The article answers that yes, in fact, long Covid is usually imaginary, since more than half of the people who believe they have it, in In reality, they have never had Covid-19. The conclusion of the article is that the task of physicians is “to identify the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms that can be targeted to alleviate symptoms.” [de ces malades imaginaires]. This article was widely covered in the mainstream media.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers The manifestations of the “long Covid” would not necessarily be linked to the infection by SARS-CoV-2

The JAMA Intern Med is a prestigious journal, more scientists know that it is not possible to play a role in the quality of an article on the reputation of a journal, car certains travaux publiés dans des journaux prestigious n’ont jamais pu être confirmés next. Therefore, it is necessary to read and analyze this article.

This work is notable for the investment it took to collect a whole series of information from 26,823 people who reported symptoms that lasted at least two months and were attributed to prolonged Covid. The investigation took place between March and November 2020, which may come as a surprise because, in March 2020, no one was talking much about Covid, nor had they been able to suffer from symptoms for two months.

We now know that the least bad way to know if someone is infected is to get a positive PCR test in the acute phase of the disease.

Unfortunately, the results of the analyzes are totally unusable, because this work accumulates methodological errors. A fundamental rule of the scientific method is to compare your experimental data with those of the literature, in order to be able to discuss possible convergences or divergences, and to try to understand the latter. On the other hand, in this epidemiological study on the long Covid, large due to the size of the questioned population, the main previous work is ignored.

We now know that the least bad way to know if someone is infected is to get a positive PCR test in the acute phase of the disease. After this phase, the test, a priori, stops being positive. Can you use HIV status to prove that you have been infected? If anti-SARS antibodies are present in the blood, then there has been an infection (or vaccination, if applicable). But the absence of antibodies cannot prove the absence of infection. In fact, in addition to the sensitivity limits of the serological test itself, some individuals have a very weak antibody response, particularly those who will have a prolonged Covid. Finally, this production of anti-SARS antibodies is generally transient, the antibodies decrease drastically in a few months, or even disappear, and this is precisely the reason why the 3rd vaccination is becoming generalized.

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